Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ode To Uma

Uma Cortes 1995-2008

On Monday, 10 November 2008, after 13.5 years, we lost our great companion and friend, Uma. Some souls seem to transcend species and Uma was definitely one.

I met Uma in 1995, when she was just a few months old. I was working on the film "Let It Be Me" and one of the editors, Carol asked if anyone could adopt a dog - one of her friends found a dog in Central Park as a puppy and couldn't take care of her anymore.

That was our Uma.

She didn't get the name Uma until she moved in with us in Soho and our roommate Diana named her after the star of "Pulp Fiction". Tara and I didn't care about the name, we just loved her.

Uma loving the snow

I never had a dog and I didn't know how close you could become with another being. We understood each other; after years of adventures and interacting we knew each other so well. Uma was a great defender, a gentle and kind soul (she was so tender with children and babies, even during her rambunctious years), so very funny and absolutely graceful. Her long, white eyelashes were so beautiful. Her black ears stood at attention when she was alert or excited. What a beauty.

Beautiful long eyelashes


Moving to Brooklyn was interesting for both of us. We'd never been able to play off-leash, unless she was in the Hamptons. Fort Greene and Prospect parks allowed us to run around, have fun and provided us with the most stunning backdrop for our lives .

Uma in Fort Greene Park

Without Uma I would have never met Fernando. Walking to the park each day we passed the lovely cafe where he worked. I remember the first time he met Uma, he'd made a smoothie for me and she got so excited that she knocked it out of my hand and all over the sidewalk. She loved Fernando immediately - and she was the best judge of character.

I am so grateful that we became a family.

On our way to celebrate Fernando + my wedding anniversary in PA

Sweet pumpkin

Uma loved the beach and with much happiness, Fernando and I were able to take her back to Montauk two weekends ago. She walked in the grass again.

Happy in the grass

Fernando carried her down all the way down to the sand and we all sat there watching the waves come in.

A young lab and a couple followed us and they made their way to the log where we'd run around and giddily posed for photos three years ago. We watched them. We made sure Uma was comfortable.

Fernando and Uma

On the way back, we stopped to see our family and they each gave Uma their love. Her tail couldn't wag anymore but she was happy.

I am so honored to have known Uma and to have spent over 13 years by her side. I will always love her. She will always be a part of us.

Uma & Barbara - I miss them both.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

my little india

On Sunday, my favorite art director from Martha Stewart visited Bowne. Michelle is so talented and her vision is so direct - she has an idea, draws up the storyboard and makes it become a reality. Working with Michelle was always a dream - she's the perfect combination of the Science of Sleep and salt of the earth.

Unfortunately I was dreadfully sick that day and could barely stand. Luckily, Samantha was there to pinch hit and help me from collapsing. Besides not being 100% me the day Michelle visited, I missed out on the India Festival.....damn, damn, damn.

India has been a source of inspiration for me (and I'm sure most of you) for quite some time. Not having the pleasure of visiting our beloved continent/country, most of my inspiration comes from books, movies and the music.

Zetna once gifted me the best present - a Bollywood cassette from a yellow cab driver - she begged him for it and it's still one of my prized possessions.

Last week I finally saw The Namesake - the incomparable Mira Nair's latest film. As a first generation New Yorker, I am a sucker for all stories dealing with immigration, identity, the journey "back home" and the duality of newly born Americans. The story gave me lots to mull over and digest....but as usual it was the visuals that drew me into the fascinating culture and beauty of India.

Taj Mahal - the way Mira Nair shot this wonder of the world, was so unbelievably intimate. The extreme close-ups and the interaction of people within this shrine to love was so delicious.

Rothko - the color blocked images and props were so powerful. As you know I love color blocking.

Cobalt blue, brick red, mustard yellow - what great combinations.

Charcoals - Kal Penn's character draws a rickshaw operator in charcoal and the depth of the blackness in the pencil is so powerful.

Embellishments during weddings - The women had brick red lines drawn on their feet and paisley embellishments on their faces - lovely.

Femininity - the women in the film were so beautiful and it was so empowering to see women enjoying their sexuality. Everything from their hair, to their skin and clothing enhanced them.

Strings of marigolds - an image that reminds me of Monsoon wedding. The sting of marigolds was offered to the river Ganges during a funeral and it was so pretty.

Art - the injection of art in the film from the father's watercolors, to Gogol's work to the architecture and the cards that Gogol's mother hand makes for the holidays. It reminded me that no matter how large or small art is, it is powerful.

PS...I think I will finally go to India with Lynda & Jeff. I am so excited.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

a funny thing happened at the co-op

the past two days I've been spotting celebrities. No not those over the top, botoxed celebs from TMZ, but the great artistic ones that you secretly want to be friends with.

Yesterday evening, Robert and I were headed to the Center for Book Arts to see the documentary Barbara Henry (former curator and master printer at Bowne for 22 years) put together about the English printers and publishers Whittington Press. The show was really good, but more on that later....

Walking down 28th Street, past the old PropHAUS and through the flower district we smelled the tell tale signs of craft service. Yummy grilled meats and such. Normally I (like most New Yorkers) find production annoying at best (unless one of my friends is involved). Well, I looked to our left and there was sweet America Ferrara shooting an episode of Ugly Betty. She was lovely and little and it made us both smile.

Today my husband and I were at the Food Co-op doing our monthly workshift and who should come into the office asking for assistance? Miho Hatori! The apple sweet vocalist who sings one of my favorite songs "OCEAN IN YOUR EYES" from the Y Tu Mama Tambien soundtrack. You may know Miss Hatori as 1/2 of the talented duo Cibo Matto (Barbara really liked them), but I am more familiar with her collaboration with Smokey Hormel - Smokey & Miho.

I was so excited to meet her and I told her that she was one of my favorite singers - she seemed so pleased and surprised. She too was lovely and incredibly gracious. I am loving seeing my favorite celebs. Now if I could only conjure up Craig Daniels for Laura.

Be inspired my friends. Enjoy the music you love.......

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

on the flight to santa barbara

Are all amazing things named Barbara??

Besides my amazing friend who passed away, I just found another really sweet Barbara - that paradise city Santa Barbara. One of my "bestest buddies" Toni was getting married so my husband and I headed west and boy was it fantastic!

But before I mention the unbelievably beautiful wedding, I have to share with you what I read on the flight to LAX.

Of course I had to buy Paper magazine after seeing that Lily Allen was on the cover

....but to my surprise, when I perused the issue I saw the best fashion story I've seen in AGES.

To top it off, I realize that it's our friend Jon Shireman - talented photographer, Apple genius and friend of Barbara's too. I absolutely love this story - it's inspiring.

What's inspiring you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ny gift fair and my favorite things

image courtesy of John Derian

Gift Fair

Robert and I attended the New York International Gift Fair yesterday at the Jacob Javits center. It's so much more corporate than the sweet Stationery Show, but interesting nonetheless.

I was very much in love with the booths by Swallow, Saturn Press, John Derian, Rupalee and those fine letterpress printers at Yee Haw. Equally of interest were the typography coasters by Heather Lins and the clever valet and ornaments by Jonathan Adler.

image courtesy of Swallow

image courtesy of Rupalee

image courtesy of Yee Haw Industries

These are the big leagues - the who's who. You name the company and they are represented - from Sferra to Marimekko to Umbra and back. I might stop by the Piers today with Robert again. It is fun being a buyer for the sweet printshop - we're excited about the possibilities.

My favorite things

*the sound of rain on a taut umbrella - the pitter patter sound is absolute heaven. My friend Samantha wrote to say that she was enjoying the rain back home in England. What a lovely sound.

*birthdays + gifts - it was my father's birthday and we got him great presents and had the best time partying at his home. also, my best friend Sandi's daughter turned 3 - woo hoo! and next week is my other best friend Aimee's birthday - she, her husband and our goddaughter stopped by the printshop to visit and choose their baby much fun.

*being in love - my esposo is one of a kind and we can tackle anything together. for this I am unbelievably grateful.

will write again about the gift fair - ta ta!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Losing A Friend

This past Friday I lost a really good friend. I am not alone in this loss. There were so many people that my friend Barbara touched. She was so funny and cool and I never had a dull moment with her. One of the best things is realizing how many people she knew and affected.

If I ever needed to track something down for a styling job, Barbara knew it. If I had a question about a restaurant, Barbara had been there. We shared friends, a love of old school hip hop, margaritas and so so so much more.

The last time I saw her (last Tuesday), I brought my iPod with a playlist created for her. I plugged it into my Muji speaker and played her favorite song "Set It Off." She smiled and said "Let's get this party started, right?"

I love Barbara and I'm so grateful to have been her friend. She was lucky enough to make sure that she told everyone how she felt about them. In the past two years, I've been a bit more reserved with my feelings and love, but that's coming to an end. We are here on this beautiful Earth for a finite amount of time and I will continue to enjoy it all.

Things I will miss about my friend:
*Taking Uma to Fort Greene Park and calling Barb to see if she could come over - she lived across the street, so she'd peek her head out the window and 9 out of 10 times, she'd come out. Uma would be soooo happy.
*Calling Barbara to see if she'd heard of a new restaurant. Just last night I read a review about The General Greene and almost called her, (sigh).
*Watching tv shows with Barb when we had sleepovers
*Fresh fruit margaritas with Barbara and the girls at El Rey del Sol to celebrate summer
*Driving with her from Manhattan to Brooklyn - she was a navigational genius
*Bowling in Port Authority with the whole gang - we all had bowling aliases (Snackho, Cash Money...) . My favorite time was when we competed on that Dance Dance Revolution video game
*Recounting silly stories and chistes with her
*Silently sitting together and just enjoying each other's company
*We once worked on a Gourmet magazine shoot together and logistically it was a hot mess. Of course the shots were beautiful, but that doesn't tell the story. We were in Charleston and because we had so much to do, we almost never got to eat with the crew (hello, the story was for Gourmet, so they were gallivanting around the city eating at the best restaurants - we had dinner at Appleby's - yuck). Between one broken tooth (a fossilized Jordan almond found at the bottom of a styling kit), heat exhaustion ("Pull the car over!" "No, I'm fine" while retching out the window), my first driving experience (sans license in a mini van, picking up antiques) and a good taste of boiled peanuts, she'd always make fun of me for losing it on an airline representative over the phone. Geez, it was fun.

Enjoy your friends, don't shy away from the good experiences and never feel embarrassed about telling them that you love them!

Thanks Barbara Anne!

(photo courtesy Mr. Small)

Monday, July 28, 2008


Have you ever watched The Avengers? A lot of my formative years were spent watching reruns of old tv classics. My sister and I absolutely fawned over The Avengers.

Only recently did I realize that the beloved Miss Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) was not the original female co-star. Honor Blackman played Dr. Cathy Gale, the stiff compatriot to John Steed. Hmmmm.....then Miss Blackman left to star as Pussy Galore in GOLDFINGER!! Then there was Emma Peel.

Well I watched 3 episodes from the Best of Collection and the sets and fashions did not disappoint.

Here is Miss Emma Peel's door with peephole from "Death At Bargain Prices"

It reminds me of that kick-ass eye mask that Holly Golightly wears in Breakfast At Tiffany's.

Equally exciting was this outfit Dr. Cathy Gale wears in "Don't Look Behind You".

Pencil skirt, striped shirt with tie detail...and the clincher was the hanging gold belt. So severe - soooooo good!

Yesterday, I just bought a book on Charlotte Perrinand's work - I think I'm back to being in love with 1940s-1960s design.

happy charlotte!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

video obsession

while I am not normally one for posting videos here are 2 that are making me smile...a lot.

1. From my youth - Kid Creole & The Coconuts
(my sister and I knew all the steps)

2. Fergasonic - Mashup Salt & Pepper/Fergie/JJ Fad

Friday, July 11, 2008

tonight....los amigos invisibles

Just in case it's Friday night and you realize that you've got a new pair of dancing shoes and no place to break them in.....

Los Amigos Invisibles are playing at S.O.B.s

If only I had more energy.
If only I'd checked my email yesterday and planned accordingly.
If only they were playing Saturday night.
If only I was 10 years younger, I'd totally be a groupie.

Alas, I have seen them live approx. 7 times and they DO NOT DISAPPOINT.

Check 'em out: Los Amigos Invisibles